Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Inside Out Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
Do you ever look at someone and wonder what’s going on inside their head? Disney-Pixar’s “Inside Out” takes an exciting and hilarious journey into the mind to find the answer. Based in Headquarters, the control center of 11-year-old Riley’s mind, five emotions are hard at work, led by lighthearted optimist Joy. She strives to make sure Riley stays happy as she operates alongside fellow emotions Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness. Experience it like never before on Disney Blu-ray!
Film (4 out of 5 stars)
If you’ve ever wondered what’s going on in someone’s head, Pixar has the answer. Each mind is run by five emotions. Inside Out is the story of 11 year old Riley. Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler) is in charge of Riley’s (voiced by Kaitlyn Dias) mind. Joy helps her see the good in everything and strives to keep Riley happy. Joy also manages Riley’s other emotions which include Anger (voiced by Lewis Black), Sadness (voiced by Phyllis Smith), Fear (voiced by Bill Hader) and Disgust (voiced by Mindy Kaling). 

Joy’s job was pretty easy. Riley was a happy kid with a great family and lots of friends. Riley lives in Minnesota and enjoys skating on her local hockey team. Her whole world changes when her family moves to San Francisco. Riley has to go to a new school and meet her new classmates and teachers. The family’s moving truck has gone missing but worst of all the pizza in San Francisco has broccoli on it.

While Riley deals with her increasing homesickness and life outside her head, life inside her head is becoming more dramatic as well. The emotions manage Riley’s memories and take special care to look after core memories. When those core memories are threatened, Riley’s entire personality is in jeopardy. Joy and Sadness are on a mission to put Riley back to the girl she was. They travel through long term memory, her imagination and even her forgotten memories.

My seven year old complains that he doesn’t understand why kid movies have to make you sad. He often asks me to skip to the happy parts and doesn’t want to feel sad before feeling happy. In the case of Inside Out there are some very sad moments. But it’s clear that the filmmakers aren’t just making the audience feel sad so the happiness later is amplified. In this film, they try to show a connection between the two emotions. They do embrace sadness, and discover its usefulness. All the trouble in Riley’s head comes when Sadness appears to be tainting happy memories. Later on they realize that some of Riley’s happiest moments came out of sadness. In one particular memory, Riley had the best day and was surrounded by her family and friends. They came to support her because she was feeling down. She would not have had such joy without first feeling sadness.

Inside Out flawlessly captures human emotion in voice, attitude and character. The perfect casting of Riley’s five emotions makes the film come to life. The care and thought that the animators put into every aspect of the emotions is apparent. Seeing into the head of Riley’s parents is very amusing. It is no surprise that her father has sports playing through his mind while her mom has a go to daydream of a hot guy from her past. Children and adults will find things to make them laugh (and probably cry) as the audience takes a ride on Riley’s emotional rollercoaster.
Video (5 out of 5 stars)
Inside Out looks absolutely fantastic on Blu-ray. The image is clear, crisp and everything you’d hope for from a digitally animated film. The characters offer bright colors and Joy literally emanates light. Sadness and her blues with come across as intently as anger’s red and the fire that shoots out of his head. Disgusts hair doesn’t just glitter, it shimmers. This is a stunning transfer that will undoubtedly be playing on display televisions everywhere during the holidays. The reference quality images will certainly sell a few TVs.
Audio (5 out of 5 stars)
Inside Out's DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 soundtrack matches the video presentation in its excellence. Dialogue is intelligible and consistent throughout the film. The sound effects can be felt throughout your surround sound system. You’ll feel the emptiness of the forgotten memory zone and can hear the paper move as a house of cards falls. The soundtrack is immersive and leaves the audience wanting for nothing.
Extras (4 out of 5 stars)
The Blu-ray and supplemental disc contain a healthy list of extras which are entertaining and unique.
The Blu-ray feature film disc contains the following:
  • Lava (7:12) – A short film about two volcanoes looking for love.
  • Riley’s First Date (4:40) – A short film that takes a look inside everyone’s heads as a boy comes to Riley’s house to pick her up. It’s no surprise that the teenage boy’s head isn’t full of intelligent thought.
  • Paths to Pixar: The Women of Inside Out (11:22) – The women who voice the Inside Out characters and the women who helped to make the film talk about their childhood, how they came to work at Pixar and the hurdles they’ve had to overcome.
  • Mixed Emotions (7:17) – The Pixar team discusses narrowing down the emotions and research with a look at conceptual art.
  • Audio Commentary – Director Pete Doctor leads the first commentary I’ve heard that starts with an outline. He is joined by his co-director and later Director of Photography as he discusses the collaborative effort needed to make the film, and specifically touches on history, invisible story and cinematography.
The bonus disc contains the following extras:
  • Story of the Story (10:30) – Cast and crew take a look at the story and character development.
  • Mapping the Mind (8:24) - An in-depth look at Riley’s mind, the main set.
  • Our Dads, the Filmmakers (7:25) –The children of the co-directors take us through their father’s work on Inside Out.
  • Into the Unknown: The Sound of Inside Out (7:09) - A foray into the sound effects used in the film. This featurette covers finding the right sounds, tuning them and making sure they deliver the right emotion.
  • The Misunderstood Art of Animation Film Editing (4:43) - A look at the editing process and its importance.
  • Mind Candy (14:26) - A gathering of character extras.
  • Deleted Scenes – Director Pete Doctor’s introduction, followed by a handful of deleted scenes in various forms of completion.
  • Trailers - Remember, Experience and Japan.
Summary (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Disney and Pixar have hit a home run with their recent release, Inside Out. These are the experts at making an audience feel for animated characters and it’s a film about feelings. The audio and video presentations are near perfect. The bonus features are unique and come from many perspectives. This is one of the few animated films that parents will enjoy as much as the kids and I highly recommend making the purchase and stuffing it into as many stockings as you can this Christmas.

Order your copy today!

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